Chris Kuball, Jim Peterson and Spencer Furman
Updated: May 26, 2022 11:24 AM
Created: May 13, 2020 08:51 AM
Severe weather can happen at any time, but across southern Minnesota and northern Iowa, our severe weather season typically begins in March and lasts through October. Knowing the correct terminology the ABC 6 Meteorologists use during times of severe weather can help keep you and your family safe and it all starts with a safety plan.
Severe Weather Safety Plan
In the event of severe weather, having a safety plan is important. If you don’t have a safety plan, here’s what one should consist of.
The region is no stranger to tornadoes, being on the northern edge of Tornado Alley. Most tornadoes are on the weaker side of the Enhanced Fujita Scale (EF0-EF2) however, violent tornadoes (EF3-EF5 and higher) can occur.
Definition: Conditions are favorable for thunderstorms to form tornadoes within the watch area through a set timeframe.
Action: Be prepared for weather conditions to change quickly and review/make a Severe Weather Safety Plan. Check weather conditions frequently.
What You Should Do During a Tornado Watch
Definition: A tornado has been spotted and will impact those in the warned area.
Action: If you are in a tornado warning, you need to seek shelter immediately.
What to Do During a Tornado Warning
A severe thunderstorm is a storm that is capable of producing 1” in diameter or greater hail and/or winds at or greater than 58 miles per hour. Tornadoes are also possible during severe thunderstorms.
Severe Thunderstorm Watch
Definition: Conditions are favorable for severe thunderstorms to develop within the watch area through a set timeframe.
Action: Prepare for quickly changing weather conditions. Check weather conditions frequently.
What You Should Do During a Severe Thunderstorm Watch
Severe Thunderstorm Warning
Definition: A severe thunderstorm has been spotted or radar indicated and will impact those in the warned area.
Action: If you are in the warned area, you need to seek shelter immediately.
What to Do During a Severe Thunderstorm Warning
Floods account for the most thunderstorm related deaths per year, even more than tornadoes and lightning. There is a noticeable difference between a flood and a flash flood – mainly the speed at which impacts will happen and duration of impact.
Definition: Conditions are favorable for river flooding or inundation in flood plains within the watch area.
Action: Be prepared for potential rising river levels. Those near rivers or in a flood plain should consider using sandbags if necessary. Make sure sump pumps are working properly and check weather conditions regularly.
What You Should Do During a Flood Watch
Definition: Flooding is either occurring along rivers or in flood plains or will be imminent in defined areas. Flood conditions may last as long as several days.
Action: Move to higher ground if flood water is forecast to impact your home and obey any evacuation orders.
What You Should Do During a Flood Warning
Flash Flood Watch
Definition: Conditions are favorable for a sudden, rapid rise of water due to heavy rains to occur within the watch area through a set timeframe.
Action: Be prepared for rapidly rising water in low areas and rivers due to potential heavy rains. Check weather conditions frequently.
What You Should Do During a Flash Flood Watch
Flash Flood Warning
Definition: Sudden, rapid rises of flood waters are either happening or are imminent in the warned area.
Action: Seek shelter and higher ground immediately.
What You Should Do During a Flash Flood Warning
Excessive heat is another dangerous form of severe weather. Heat stroke and heat exhaustion are preventable if you know what symptoms to look for
Action: Immediately stop what you or the person experiencing these symptoms are doing and call 9-1-1. Move instead to a cool location and begin to lower the body temperatures with either cool clothes or a bath. Do not give or take any fluids.
Action: Immediately stop what you or the person are doing and move inside or to a cooler place. Once inside or in a cooler place, lie down and sip water as well as loosen any tight clothing. If vomiting continues, seek medical attention.
Ways to Prevent/Lessen Heat-Related Illnesses:
Staying Weather Aware
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